Equipment Image 2013Brickphone

A "brick phone" from original Cyberpunk.

Equipment Image FlipPhone

A "flip phone" from Cyberpunk 2020.

Cellular Phones are handheld, wireless telephone devices.

In first edition Cyberpunk (often called Cyberpunk 2013), cellular phones are described as looking like walkies-talkies. They were noted for having a battery-life of 12 hours, with a 6 hour recharge time. Prices range form $400 for an inexpensive model, to $3,000 for a model with multiple lines, built-in hold-buttons and memory auto-dial. A typical monthly service charge is $40 per month with 40c per minute for local calls. Long distance call fees vary, with a call form Los Angeles to New York costing $2 per minute during daylight business hours, or $1.50 for evening hours. Coverage is limited to cities, but this can extend to 20 miles beyond city limits.They are unable to transmit cybermodem signals, making netrunning impossible.

The second edition Cyberpunk 2020 cellular phones are described as "communication on the move, anywhere within reach of a radiotelephone transceiver network. There is a 100eb per month phone service charge." The mini-cellphone is described as "it fits in a cigarette pack." A typical cellphone costs 400eb, while a mini-cellphone costs 800eb. As noted, cell phone service costs 100 or more euros a month (A standard land-line service is 30 euros a month.) Unlike the previous edition, Netrunners can interface directly with the Net without a direct telecommunications link with a Cellular Cyberrnodem, but it is highly expensive for most Netrunners, can only be used in major cities, and the signal tends to break up while in a moving vehicle.

Cultural NotesEdit

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, when the Cyberpunk role-playing game came into being, mobile phones were state of the art, but they were too expensive (and bulky) for everyday use. The rulebooks noted that cellphones were going to be in common use in the future. Unfortunately the phones used in the rulebooks resembled the iconic "brick phones" of the 1980s, and they were as expensive and useful as mobile phones at the time. Naturally, as mobile communication technology in real life grew in leaps and bounds, the cell phones featured in the rulebooks quickly looked like old relics.